The roles and functions of a student organization advisor include:
Meet University expectations of advisors.
- Attend committee meetings.
- Provide a link between students and the University.
- Interpret policy and take appropriate positions on delicate issues.
Meet your group's expectations of an advisor.
- Meet with your group to determine expectations.
- Attend and participate in programs.
- Hold individual meetings with executive members.
- Serve as a resource person.
- Provide group dynamics training.
- Be familiar with the group's history of highs and lows.
Know administrative detail.
- Be familiar with the politics and procedures of the organization and institution.
- Understand budget and expenditures.
Demonstrate advisor qualities and behaviors.
- Know about group process theory and leadership.
- Establish good working relationships and rapport with the group.
- Be tactful and honest.
- Provide effective feedback.
- Enthusiastically support the group.
- Admit to a mistake – be human.
- Maximize information resources. Lack of information can be non-productive.
- Choose the most productive time to comment at group meetings.
- Be aware of the power of positive reinforcement.
- Allow the group to learn from failure.
- Observe, advise, and be aware of group dynamics; take notes and discuss with students and colleagues.
The specific roles and responsibilities of an advisor vary depending on the organization and the advisor, but most student organization advisors have the following responsibilities:
Through personal interaction and program development, you can play a significant role in developing members' leadership skills and personal growth and in identifying new leaders for the organization. Specific skills you could enhance include:
- Interpersonal communication
- Assisting with retreats and workshops
You can serve as a consultant by:
- Meeting regularly with officers and chairpersons to keep current on projects and events they're planning.
- Serving as a resource person and, through continued open interaction, pointing out new perspectives and guiding the group toward activities and individual performance.
Officers and members change frequently, and at times the only link with the past is the advisor. To enhance continuity, you can:
- Orient new officers and members to the history and purpose of the group and help them build upon it.
- Help members look toward the future by developing long-term goals and communicating them to new members.
- Be wary if the organization focuses on "this is the way things have always been." Encourage creative brainstorming to help an organization generate new ideas.
Your interaction with members gives you a unique opportunity to assist individuals with problems:
- Help students maintain a balance between academic and co-curricular aspects of student life.
- Make appropriate referrals by using your knowledge of campus and community resources.
Interpretations of policy
As a representative of the University to the organization, you are constantly in a position to interpret University policies and regulations as well as state and federal laws relevant to student organizations. One example is the Clery Act and Crime Reporting, a federal law that requires institutions of higher education to report crimes, provide notice of security policies, and give finely warnings.
You should also be familiar with all organization policies, such as constitution, bylaws, and protocols.
You have a responsibility to both the University and the organization to keep the best interests of both in mind. In a well run organization, the supervisory role may be minimal or nonexistent, and the advisor may need to intervene only to prevent the violation of public or institutional policy.
Each organization should have a treasurer/finance director. Work with this individual to assure accurate record keeping and budgeting.
Attend all regular and special meetings of the organization to keep informed and be available for consultation or to introduce ideas and suggestions. Many advisors have a time slot on meeting agendas when they can let the group know about upcoming campus events, congratulate members, offer remarks or evaluation, etc.